Alumna of the Month: July 2009
Sheryl Hall ’82
What is your edge (strength)?
I would define my edge (or strength) as perseverance.
I feel that I’ve always been a hard worker, but I think that at Hofstra I was able to not only see that perseverance pays off, but learn to put my successes and failures (new opportunities) into perspective.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
What was your major?
What was your favorite class?
What is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
I can’t say that I have one particular fondest memory. My fondest memories came through sports. As a starter for 4 years in both field hockey and basketball I have a lot of fond memories and a number of accomplishments that I am proud of.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I have always loved being active, playing sports and being involved in Physical Education. I knew early on that I wanted to be a Physical Education Teacher. I am currently an early childhood elementary physical education and health teacher. I work with children in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and 1st grade. It is my goal to provide children with a variety of physical skills which they can then use to enjoy and confidently participate in sport, dance and leisure activities. It is my hope that as students grow they will have the knowledge, skills and confidence to participate fully in an active lifestyle.
Who in your field do you most admire?
I admire physical educators who constantly evaluate and make changes to their program to keep current with the latest trends. I admire teachers who try to reach every student and help them have positive physical education experiences. I believe that success is one aspect that increases a students’ likelihood to continue their participation in physical activity.
What do you think set you apart from others to become Teacher of the Year?
I think what sets me apart from others is my commitment to students and their success in my program. What makes me different is my passion for physical education and my desire to never be satisfied, but instead to continue looking for ways to constantly enhance my program. The belief that I share in the responsibility to educate the whole child impacts the decisions I make, and it is why I get involved with all aspects of our school community.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first job after graduating from Hofstra was teaching physical education at a K-12 private school in New York City. (Birch Wathen School – no longer in existence). Perhaps the most valuable thing I learned was creativity and the ability to think on my feet. The school had no facility of its own; we would use Central Park when we could, or take a bus to a gym about a mile away. My student’s early experiences with physical activity were very different than those I had growing up, so I needed to create a variety of learning experiences if I was to reach them all. I needed to be able to think on my feet because unfortunately it was not uncommon to get stuck on the bus for an extended length of time since cars would be double parked and the bus couldn’t get down the street to the gym. My kindergarteners learned a lot of songs.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
The time goes by really fast; it’s a time of personal growth and establishing who you are as a person. Make decisions that you can look back on and be proud of.
How do you balance work and life?
Achieving balance is always a work in progress. I believe it’s important to take advantage of the moments. Carve out time for yourself and your loved ones.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
At this moment, I see myself doing the same thing in 10 years. I absolutely love what I do. I love working with the children in my school. My school is an early childhood learning center so we have pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and 1st grade students. Forty-six percent of our population has special needs so each year I encounter new challenges which continue to help me grow personally and professionally.
What is the single most rewarding experience in your career thus far?
While being recognized as the Massachusetts Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year was truly an honor for me and one I cherish, I also recognize that it is not an honor I achieved solely on my own. I think the most rewarding experience for me has been all of the people I have met over the years who have supported, guided, and coached me; those who have been role models and friends. I am fortunate to work with an amazingly talented, dedicated group of educators who inspire me on a daily basis.
Do you have a favorite quote or saying that has kept you motivated through the years? I don’t have a particular quote. My desire to do my best and at days end to be proud of the work I’ve done is what keeps me motivated.
Sheryl Hall ’82 holds the distinction of being the third person in Hofstra history to score 1,000 points in basketball and, from this stellar accomplishment, her career trajectory has remained on the rise. Her recent selection as the 2008 Massachusetts Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year reflects the breadth of the knowledge and expertise she gained at Hofstra -- both as an athlete and scholar.
Sheryl came to Hofstra as a walk-on athlete in both field hockey and basketball, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in physical education at Hofstra. She was one of five freshman starters for the basketball team and remained a starter throughout her four years at Hofstra. Upon graduation, Sheryl began teaching at a New York City private school, then went on to the challenge of working at a residential school for emotionally disturbed and learning disabled children, where she became assistant principal after receiving an M.S.Ed. from Antioch University. Subsequently, she utilized her education and experience in the business world as a corporate trainer, writing instructional manuals and teaching adults.
In 2001 Sheryl returned to teaching at the Margaret C. Ells School in Springfield, Massachusetts. At Ells, she has organized many fund-raising programs and established business partnerships with local agencies to enhance the educational opportunities of her students. Due to Sheryl’s efforts, the Ells School was able to add one of the first community climbing walls to her physical education program. Sheryl’s goal in developing a quality physical education program is to teach children the fundamentals that will enable them to build the confidence they need to be successful in a variety of activities. Sheryl has also developed an integrated math/physical education curriculum, and she plans to publish this document.
Sheryl currently serves as the coordinator of the Springfield Schools Elementary Physical Education Guides. These instructional guides are used system-wide to develop units and lesson plans. Sheryl states in her philosophy of teaching that physical education is an integral part of a child’s education. Her responsibility is to help children develop basic skills that serve as the foundation for future – and hopefully lifelong – participation in physical activities. She strives to continually enhance her program to reach every student.